It’s almost over. Seems like just yesterday I was carefully unpacking my PS3 with out the box with precision like a Dr. preparing for heart surgery. This “modern” gaming generation is almost at an end with the new consoles preparing to launch this fall. Not to mention Nintendo already has their new hardware available now. So with that in mind , I thought it would be fun to take a look back with a part one on my top 30 games of this generation of consoles. Feel free to disagree,discuss, or let us know which were your favorite games that left a memorable impression on you. So let’s get to it and see who’s up first and yes these are ranked in order.
I admit the first time I played Infamous from new kid on the block developer Sucker Punch, I wasn’t blow away. Granted, I never gave it a real chance with such other games of higher anticipation being released in 2009. It wasn’t until I came back to the game during the slow season that I truly appreciated the game for what it was….a original living and breathing comic in the form of a video game adaptation. You play as Cole MacGrath, a superhero by default who is left with electrical super powers after a mysterious atomic bomb blows up downtown in Empire City. For any gamer out there who has yet to give Infamous a try, you will not find a better sleeper out there that is now one of the big boy franchises leading the launch line up on the next generation of consoles.
#29 MotorStorm: Apocalypse
I know, I know…your probably thinking how dare I give a big middle finger to such successful racers like Burnout Paradise, Need For Speed Hot Pursuit, and Gran Turismo 5 just to name a few. Those are very polished and more importantly very fun racers. However, MotorStorm: Apocalypse delivered a very special experience that to date no other racing franchise has attempted. What happens when you take sixteen off-road , high-octane vehicles, sprinkle in tsunami’s. earthquakes,tornadoes, and hurricanes that literally destroy and change the environment during the race and mix in some of the best controls and graphics in one pot….and you come out with number twenty-nine on my list as one of the greatest racing games this generation courtesy of Evolution Studios
#28 Castlevania Lords Of Shadow
When I was a kid playing on my 8 bit Nintendo back in the day, Castlevania was one of those games I would play until 3am on a school night. Being a fan of 15th century gothic lore,this was a dream come true. Fast forward to 2009, and I fell in love all over again with this franchise. Foggy forest, haunted castles, werewolves howling in the background, Draculas castle all in a Transylvania back drop with God Of War gameplay and graphics…what more could you want? How about legendary actor Patrick Stewart and the novel inspired narrator!
#27 Super Mario Bros Wii
If there is one thing this modern generation did, it was not only move the game industry forward with cutting edge titles, but it was also paying homage to the old school gaming forefathers who laid down the foundation for the gaming industry with gorgeous HD visuals and new and creative gameplay on some of the best platform franchises that were ‘king’ back in the day. At the top of that list was hands down Super Mario Bros Wii. This was a masterpiece adventure for our favorite plumber and friends to not only be enjoyed by a new generation of kids….but adults who got a chance to revisit their favorite childhood heros…Mario and Luigi as well.
#26 Heavy Rain
Speaking of new and cutting edge games, if you don’t know by now, allow me to introduce you to Heavy Rain. Frankly I don’t even know where to begin. Start by taking everything you know about video games and flush it down the drain. Developed by Quantic Dream ,Heavy Rain is an interactive dramatic crime sage that plays more like a movie than a game. You switch between several characters that all have a connection tied to a serial killer known as the Origami Killer. If you have not played this game, I would strongly suggest next time you are at your local game shop to picked up a cheap used copy. It is truly one of the most original and different games you will have the joy to experience this generation.
#25 Little Big Planet 2
Not every game that is worthy of your hard-earned dollars has to shoot and blow stuff up. Well to be fair, Little Big Planet allows you to do that too. However, trust me when I say that this was one of the cutest (yes I said cute), funnest, and charming new franchises to come along in years. You play as Sack Boy and the new take on the old 2D platformers surprisingly felt quite fresh and new. Aside from playing through the games amazingly detailed 50 plus levels, you also can create your own levels using the same tool that the developers themselves use. The outcome is having a game that literally never ends with millions of user-created levels to play with up to four players both on and offline. Little Big Planet 1 was a true game of the year nominee, part 2 simply took the same formula to the next level and sky rocketed it.
#24 Transformers War For Cybertron
Transformers fans much like G.I. Joe fans had never really gotten a good game based off their 1980s favorite toys and cartoons. Sure , there were lame below average movie tie in games….but nothing amazing. Enter 2009’s Transformers developed by newcomer High Moon. The game just oozes G1 fandom with famous lines from the 1986 animated Transformers movie, beautiful cybertronian graphics, voice actors from the original series, and epic prequel story that leads directly into the G1 series pilot episode,and addictive online multiplayer to top it all off.
#23 Grand Theft Auto 4
I will be the first to admit, GTA 4 is not my favorite of the series from a story perspective. Not to imply the story was bad. It was pretty awesome in fact, perhaps I just wasn’t feeling a strong bond with the stories main character, Niko Bellic and his familiar from rags to riches story. Why is it on my list? Easy, It Grand Freaking Auto! This was developer Rockstars first opportunity to show the world what they could do on the modern consoles…and they did not disappoint. For 2008, this was simply one of the best looking games around that paid an amazing attention to detail in NYC inspired Liberty City.
#22 Batman: Arkham Asylum
Just like Transformers, Batman’s video game adaptations have been hit and miss. Mostly miss. There were a few decent brawlers on the NES,SNES, and even the original Playstation, but none of them truly captured not only the spirit of the Dark Knight himself…but the dark city of Gotham as well. Once again, a newcomer developer (RockSteady) arrives and shows the world how it’s done. Granted, the sequel was much better (stay tuned for part 2 of SS210’s top 30), but this was a triumphant return to having an epic DC caped crusader adventure on a home console. The Joker has taken control of Arkham Asylum and only the Batman can save the day. Truly one of the best comic game adaptations we have ever seen.
#21 Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition
Let’s see a show of hands. How many of you spent countless hours either at the local arcade pumping quarters into SSF 2 arcades or at countless nights at home with your fingers wrapped firmly around your controller as you through fireballs and roundhouses with Ryu? Back in the day, SS2 was KING of the arcade fighting genre. In 2011, Capcom brought the entire gang back to beat the crap out of each other in jaw dropping and colorful HD next-gen. graphics. In addition we got to have unique story lines for each character as well. Super Street Fighter 4 was a masterpiece that was easy to learn and yet hard to master. The key ingredient for any polished fighting game.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, I love it when a game offers the player something truly different and outside the box. Bio Shock by definition is just that. Great story, spot on controls, fast 60 frames per second gunfights, and oh ya did i mention the entire game takes place in a creepy city at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean? More like a scary ride at Disney world than a video game. Don’t take my word for it, check out the game’s opening intro below!
#19 Sleeping Dogs
Confession, had it not been for last years Grand Theft Auto 5 delay, I probably never would have even bought Sleeping Dogs. It was my “open world” buffer game to keep busy with until Grand Theft Auto 5 hit retail. Boy was I glad GTA5 got pushed back. A crime thriller that takes place in Hong Kong that pays homage to 1970 kung fu classic films, the 1987 Black Rain film and even a dose of Lethal Weapon! You are an undercover cop working your way up the triad ladder. Gorgeous graphics and solid voice acting and action. Take my advice, do not sleep on Sleeping Dogs.
If the 2006 console launch The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was a next generation ground breaking role-playing game, then the 2011 Elder Scrolls Skyrim was the “creme de la creme” of the role-playing genre. Dragons,swords, haunted forest,snowy mountains with magical kingdoms, werewolves,and vampires made Skyrim the biggest time sinker of the entire current console generation. I personally clocked in over 140 hours in this sucker. Skyrim isn’t a game…it’s a world.
#17 Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception
The Indiana Jones of the game industry, Mr. Drake himself did not disappoint in one of the most anticipated sequels of all time. The game begins in a bit of a surprise with a 20 year flashback scene to give some real depth to the relationship of both Drake and his famous sidekick partner, Sully. As what has come to be the “norm” with any game developed by Naughty Dog, the graphics are truly in a league of their own. From free-falling out of a crashing airplane, escaping a burning mansion, to discovering a lost city within the desert. Top it all off with a deep and fun online multiplayer and you have a real winner worthy of anyone’s top modern game list. My only complaint? It was too short clocking in at 9 to 12 hours.
#16 Mass Effect 2
The orignal was a great game no doubt, but it wasn’t near as polished as it’s 2010 sequel. Make no mistake Star Wars and Star Trek fans, the Mass Effect franchise is THE best science fiction game to hit the modern consoles. Yes…Commander Shepard’s space adventure to save the entire universe from the Reapers is THAT good. If you love space saga’s, then there is no need to go any further explaining why Mass Effect 2 is one of the best sci-fi gaming experiences you will find.
At the end of this year after the this fall’s line up hits, we will conclude with SS210’s Top 30 games of the modern generation and narrow it down to the top 15! Who will make the list? Frankly, I’m not sure even I know. We shall see.